As this whole H1N1 (Swine Flu) pandemic paranoia sweeps the globe, I find myself contemplating the nature of people’s reactions to the word pandemic or should I say, pandemonium???? Are people in this world so obtuse as to just jump on the bandwagon of mass hysteria whenever the media has cause to blow something so out of proportion that it borders on the ridiculous? Apparently, yes. Apparently, paranoia very easily replaces caution in the everday vernacular of the people.
I just received an email from some organization that wanted me to sign a petition to ban pig farming in Mexico because, according to their sources, that is where the problem started in the first place. However, for anyone who’s done a little research, even the WHO has stated that the first cases of Swine Flu were, in fact, diagnosed in the States, not Mexico. The email further suggested that eating pork was dangerous because a person could easily ingest the Flu virus from infected meat. Are you freakin’ kidding me? People, if you are going to send me an email about signing a petition about some cause that you feel strongly about, I encourage you to do a little research first – not only about the Flu virus itself, but about this particular Flu virus. If you would have, you would have discovered that eating pork has nothing whatsoever to do with contracting the H1N1 virus.
Here’s a little tidbit of info from the CDC and WHO sites:
Why is this new H1N1 virus sometimes called “swine flu”?
This virus was originally referred to as “swine flu” because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in pigs in North America. But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and avian genes and human genes. Scientists call this a “quadruple reassortant” virus.
And, just to add to my point about people needing to research a topic before they go running through the streets screaming “we’re all gonna die”, here are some facts about eating pork.
Can I get infected with this new H1N1 virus from eating or preparing pork?
No. H1N1 viruses are not spread by food. You cannot get this new HIN1 virus from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly handled and cooked pork products is safe.
Now, having put in my two bits about people being paranoid, I have something else to say. My brother Mike actually mentioned it to me the other day and he’s got a very valid point. Imagine, for a moment, what would happen if the media were to report on all of the people who died from the ordinary Flu each year? The Flu can wreak havoc on immuno compromised individuals, such as babies and the elderly and cancer patients, etc. Since this information is not tallied on a regular basis, I have no idea what the body count would be, but I’m willing to bet it is quite high and would really freak people out if they saw the numbers.
And, what does it matter where the virus originated? It’s here and it’s going to work its way through the population until it’s spent. Period. Of course it is more common in poorer countries where hygiene isn’t as important as it is in, say, North America. Why punish Mexico for being a poorer country than the USA and Canada? Have you ever met any Mexicans? They are good peeps – genuine and friendly. Your paranoia is making their lives much worse off than they were before.
Pandemics, in my opinion, are one of the earth’s forms of population control. In case you haven’t noticed, the world is highly overpopulated right now and, as Darwin’s theory dictates, survival of the fittest is the catch phrase of the day.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m gung ho to catch the Swine Flu and perish, but I am saying that I’m not particularly frightened of the prospect. If it’s my time to go and the universe dictates I should go by way of the H1N1 virus, so be it. Until then, I’m going to live my life, laugh often and, yes, continue to eat Babe on a regular basis.